When I Was Three

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Country Kid

 

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Iowa Sky

Photo by Kandi Marie Rickert

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We’re members of a Facebook group called  Iowa Nature Photography.  

Saw this photo by Kandi Marie Rickert this afternoon, asked her permission to share it.  DM

 
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Dance!

Last weekend our son John and family went camping.  While John and I were sitting by the campfire,  I spotted one of the grandkids dancing to the radio/ oblivious to the rest of us…….

 

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Say What?

Other morning on the way to work, my son was telling me  his buddy Roy (who is a home inspector) had recently been paid with a goat for his services.

Yea, you heard that right 🙂

But then, somehow, the goat had gotten out of the top of the wooden crate,  and as of that morning on the way to work,  it was still missing.

I got on Roy’s FB page that night to see what I could see.

I read the following:

Y’all. It finally happened. Someone paid me with a goat.

For 5 years, our initial communication with clients has stated that we accept these forms of payment: cash, check, credit card, and goat.

Partially, I just wanted to see who was actually reading our emails. It got some laughs, and once in a while someone would joke about paying w/ goats ….but my friend and repeat client  XYZ was the first to actually pull it off 🤣🐐💚. They drove 2 hrs each way last night to get her 🤣🤣🤣.

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Good news is, the goat has been found!

You all have a great day, and thanks for reading along 🙂 DM

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Extraction Day

“Yaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! There’s a bee!”

About the same time, I (DM) felt a bee coming in for the kill on my head.   Time to skedaddle to the house.

Off in the distance, my daughter and law and grandson were having their own encounter with some pissed off bees.

“There’s one on my finger!”

He stung me!

Wailing….

Running…

Laughing..

(More wailing)  Grandson is 6, turned out he had been eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich.)

(We’d just stopped extracting honey, 15 minutes before…)

My younger sister wanted me to give her a quick tour of the apiary  (honey bee set up) so I’d given her, my bee suit.  We got within 20 feet of the hive and I gave her some simple instructions, on just how to open the lid and peek inside where I’d installed a feeder.  What I hadn’t counted on , was the bees (as a whole) were agitated.  Where normally, I can get within 10 feet of the hives without a suit, if I stay off to the side, At this point, even 50 feet away w/ a peanut butter and honey sandwich was too close.  In all fairness to me, I had no idea he had that sandwich.

I need to back up….

My day had started at 4 AM.   I’d invited 2 grand kids to help me extract honey. I’d pulled all of the honey supers off the hive earlier in the week, so as not to deal with bees.  Had the set up  on our front porch/ well away from the hives…  Everything (the uncapping, the new extractor, the filtering ) worked flawlessly for the first couple of hours, then gradually,  a couple of honey bees showed up.

Their numbers increased exponentially..

(You’ve heard of the waggle dance, right?)

Within 10 minutes, 2 had become several dozen, then hundred/ so we stopped.

Few minutes later there were thousands  of honey bees flying/ crawling, and foraging on everything.

It was really quite fascinating.

There’s a reason bee keepers have a designated room to extract honey with a door on it.  I won’t be extracting on the front porch ever again. 🙂

It was almost dark last night before it was doable to  finish draining the extractor into the filters.  By then, most of the bees had returned to the hives.

I asked my 6 year old grandson a few minutes later after we’d iced his finger, if he was still interested in helping me with the honey bees some other time.  He smiled a shy smile and nodded his head yes.  I wouldn’t have blamed him if he didn’t.

As my sister was getting ready to leave yesterday, she said, “What an awesome morning. What a great experience for your grand kids!”  

The sound of laughter was still playing in my head as I went to bed last night.

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Update the next day…

Ended up with exactly 80 pounds of apple/ wildflower honey,  raw, unpasteurized ,  and straight from the beehive:

 

 

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More is better, right?

It’s human nature to want to post pictures of our success, like when we’re on vacation, or our glamour photos, when we have a good peach crop etc.:

Do you want to know the truth when it comes to growing a good peach in Iowa?

I do not have a clue. 

That was just random dumb luck.

I stuck those trees in the ground a couple of years ago, and low and behold, got some beautiful peaches this seasons.

Now when it comes to growing potatoes, I have to tell you a story. Typically, I would plant potatoes around Good Friday and call it good. This season the potatoes I planted on Good Friday, in my raised beds did not do so well. I even went out of my way to cover them with some well composted cow manure.

More is better right?

Not in this case.

The potatoes in the raised beds have a bad case of scab this season. Still edible but definitely not something I would take to the fair. Having said, that I wanted to post a few pictures of my scab covered potatoes. because to me, they are a metaphor for life.

Pictures of my 2020 case of scab:

 

When  (not if) you get a case of scab make potato salad.

 

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Breakfast

Steamed freshly dug potatoes, garden fresh green beans,  3 small onions, with some bacon bits sprinkled over the top.  Smothered in butter, salt and peppered.  Dark roast coffee (black/ no sugar)  and 2 farm fresh eggs (over easy.)  The freshness of these eggs can be measured in minutes. (minutes from when they were laid until making it to my plate).

That’s what’s on my breakfast menu again this morning, and has been the past month, while the garden is growing.

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One of my strongest memories growing up,  related to my grandma (my dad’s mom) was her asking me in her German accent, was “Doggie, do you suppose you can bring me a few new potatoes when they are ready from your garden?” 

She liked to steam them with the skin still on, along with onions and green beans

I was her favorite grandchild she said.  Found out later, she said the same thing to my cousin Carol. 🙂

Several of my favorite memories of her are tied to food and drink.

When I was  about 17, after the Christmas eve church service, I got a flat tire.  Biting subzero temperatures,  no gloves or hat.  I remember feeling like my fingers were on fire while I tried to undo the nuts on the tire.  By the time I got to the family Christmas party at grandma’s my head felt like it was about to explode.   She took one look at me, took me over to her kitchen cupboard, said she had something that would fix me right up.  Poured me a little shot of Rock and Rye.

Never had it in my life.

Heck, up until that time in my life, I’d never tasted a drop of alcohol..period.

Let’s just say it worked. 🙂

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Do you have any strong memories growing up with a grandparent, or an older person who’s now gone that are tied to food?

Would love to hear them!

Remember, I love details.   DM

 

 

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Got a call this afternoon…

My cell phone rang this afternoon.  Looked like it could be a local cell phone so I answered.

Good thing I did.

“Hi Doug.  This is Pam Davis.   Someone suggested I give you a call.  We have a swarm of bees in a tree at our house, and I wondered if you’d  be interested in trying to catch them?”

I thought about it for all of 2 seconds.

“Sure, I’m interested.  I need to watch a couple of video’s on Youtube, just to make sure I know what I’m doing, then I’ll be over…”

 

When I got there an hour later this is what I saw:

The bees were about 9 feet off the ground.

Depending on where bees cluster, if they’re on the end of a small branch, you can take a pruning sheers to the branch and drop the whole cluster into a waiting box.  In this case however, that was not an option.  I ended up carrying a cardboard box with me up the ladder, then gently  grabbing/ brushing hand fulls of bees  right into the box.  Then I transferred them into a waiting nuc box

There were tens of thousands of bees, no way in the world, was I going to attempt to try to find the queen…either she was in the box or still on the branch with several hundred stragglers.

After I did all that I could do, according to what I’d watched, the best thing was to leave the bees to themselves until later in the day. If the queen is in the box, then the remaining bees will find their way to her.

Sure enough, an hour after I got home, the homeowner texted me and said, all of the remaining bees had come out of the tree and were either in the box or clustered on the side…

Sweet!

Here’s what I saw when I went back this evening:

I put the whole box into a large cardboard box/ taped it shut and put it in the cab. 🙂

Boy have I gotten a lot more relaxed around honey bees.   The more I understand the less I am afraid. (Isn’t that a life lesson?)

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Just finished transferring the swarm into their new home….we shall see.

Hopefully they will be all settled in, in the morning.

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Show and tell

Show and tell is one of my favorite memories (and activities, in elementary school)  Did you do that when you were in school?

On that note, I wanted to do a quick show and tell.

My sister Karen  is former restaurant owner/ cook/ baker and all around foodie.  She sent home a loaf of sour dough rye bread earlier in the week. I’d ground her some fresh rye and wheat flour for her a few weeks ago so this was a thank you loaf.

When I cut into that loaf of sour dough rye  Thursday lunch, I knew I needed wanted more.

Oh my.

The texture was  so soft,

and moist.

Big dabble of butter…

and coffee.

I made a meal out of just that.

Right then and there I  shot Karen a text,  and told her she needed to teach me how to build make that recipe.

She sent me  a  link:

https://www.butterforall.com/traditional-cooking-traditional-living/how-to-bake-the-perfect-sourdough-boule-in-your-dutch-oven/

Several things I liked about that recipe, in addition to  the taste.  It uses a “stretch and fold” technique (instead of kneading), so there is a lot less mess.  I’d never heard of it before, have you?

Another thing that struck me yesterday was the pace of putting this loaf together in the kitchen.  Lots of flexibility in how many times I needed to  “stretch and fold.”  (Recipe said I could get away with as few as twice, but Karen said she’d done it 8 times the day before.

The longer you take, the more the sourdough interacts with the dough.  I could really feel the change over the course of the afternoon…

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There is definitely an art to bread making.

The magic is in the details, and yes, while I love to add my touch to a recipe, I did try to stick pretty closely to the blueprint recipe this time around.

Any thoughts about bread making, interacting with your siblings, the pace of life, things you enjoy doing in your free time, favorite foods,  etc.?

Feel a nap coming on.  Take care. DM

Sourdough rye baked in a dutch oven

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